• ASTM International air quality standard highlights methods for analysing  formaldehyde in indoor air

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ASTM International air quality standard highlights methods for analysing  formaldehyde in indoor air

Nov 09 2021

A new ASTM International standard examines several techniques used to analyse levels of formaldehyde in indoor air. The ASTM air quality committee (D22) developed the standard, to be published as D8407 in the near future.

Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound as well as an ingredient used in many materials, for example as resins used for coatings. 

“Formaldehyde is a concern in the air we breathe because it is nearly ubiquitous and a known human carcinogen,” says ASTM International member Dustin Poppendieck. “Hence, determining the airborne concentration of formaldehyde in various environments and time scales is important to human health.”

Poppendieck, a research engineer, notes that there are many ways to determine formaldehyde concentration. The new standard provides an overview of ten different approaches to quantifying formaldehyde concentrations. 

“The new guide highlights the sampling rate, detection limits, advantages, and limitations of each technique,” says Poppendieck. “This allows the user to select or learn about the most appropriate technique for their application.” 

“Increased regulation surrounding the emission of formaldehyde to indoor and in-vehicle environments has driven analytical system manufacturers to develop instruments and address the growing need of material manufacturers and laboratories,” says ASTM member Caroline Widdowson, Markes International Ltd. “The new standard highlights the options to improve throughout, reduce running costs, improve safety, and the ability to include formaldehyde in the same analysis as other volatile compounds of interest.”

The guide will also aid those in regulatory bodies to understand the limitations of data supplied by the newer techniques. The guide can also be noted in other ASTM International standards as a reference for alternative formaldehyde quantification.

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